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Where to start with Julio Lucas? He’s a 32-year-old illustrator, web designer, photographer, athlete and Ringling School of Art and Design graduate who won first place in the 2014 iPhone Photography Awards. He’s an adventurer who loves climbing, flying and the outdoors. Julio once worked as a whitewater rafting guide as a teenager and had a near death experience when he ran out of air while on a scuba-diving trip two years ago. 
“There was a moment … within that moment, where you become really calm and focused,” Lucas says. “It’s a really strange feeling.” The best part is these stories are only the beginning.

“I don’t consider myself a photographer, though,” Lucas says. “My wife’s a better iPhone photographer than I am, to be honest.”

He’s a native of Puerto Rico who moved to Florida when he was 3, then was adopted by a family from Kentucky.
“I spent the first half of my life as a boriqua and the second half as a hillbilly,” Lucas jokes. “I learned to hunt, fish and run trout lines, to camp and live off the land.”

julio_medres3 a.m. obsessions
Lucas works as Director of New Media at Tidewell Hospice in Lakewood Ranch. Around the office, he wears dark pants, striped shirts and a bulky running watch.
“I’m trying to lose some weight, its a constant struggle,” he laughs.

Lucas seems youthful, but he has the tired eyes of someone who works until 3 a.m. on work projects, art projects and whatever else captures his imagination. He says he stopped watching television last year, so that gives him more time to obsess over things. Just last week, he stayed up all night trying to photograph a honey moon on Siesta Beach. At first, I thought he said “honeymoon,” but he meant the yellow-colored moon that appears in the night sky once in awhile.

Lucas dreams of living in the mountains of Colorado, but enjoys life on the Gulf Coast. “I actually love the summer here,” he says. “I like the way Sarasota looks when it’s wet and skies turn deep orange, pink and purple.

Patagonian glacier
For winning the iPhone photo contest, Lucas will receive a new iPad and an ounce of gold. He laughs. What the heck do you do with an ounce of gold?
Lucas’ wife Mariam is from Venezuela. They were touring South America and visiting Argentina when he went hiking and climbing in Patagonia.
He set up his regular camera for a time-lapse video. While waiting, he pulled out his iPhone.
“I was trying to take panoramas, but it was too windy,” he says. “So I tried to take a couple of regular photographs. It’s really easy when you’re in this exposed place and everything is so beautiful. I could have taken a Polaroid and it would have been amazing.”

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